The idea of “left behind” is a narrative challenge. It implies injustice and, often, represents actual injustice. However, it also suggests that “middle America” is resistant to change and not the more complex explanation, that the U.S. has failed to invest in creating opportunity for all. The us v. them of two factions within America is, at this point, mostly ideological. A pragmatic debate about bringing everyone along would be more effective than the current left/right debates, which have become caricatures of a serious political discussion.
“When people in the middle of the country feel like they have been left behind, it’s because they have been left behind,” said Case, whose firm is based in Washington, D.C. “If you’re only funding the outskirts of Silicon Valley or Boston or New York, not Detroit, Madison, Des Moines, New Orleans or those other cities, you’re not going to be creating jobs in those other cities that are going to offset some of the job loss because of these disruptive technologies.”